The Yankees were very nearly no-hit by the worst team in baseball. Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton had a pair of well-struck balls in the first that were in vain, and while the rest of the team managed some solid contact, they also produced a whole bunch of feckless at-bats. The first hit didn’t arrive until a lucky infield single from Gleyber Torres in the seventh. Oddly enough, the team’s coldest hitter, Joey Gallo, provided the lone highlight, smashing a game-tying homer in the eighth before another Aroldis Chapman clunker led to a 4-3 loss to the Orioles.
Yes, the Yankees have now lost six games on the season to a team that currently sits 50 games under .500 and in pole position for the No. 1 pick of the 2022 MLB Draft. In comparison, the AL East-leading Rays went 18-1 and the AL Central-leading White Sox went 7-0. “Regrettable” is not a strong enough word for the Yankees’ 9-6 showing against Baltimore.
Jordan Montgomery’s line belies his performance a bit today. He ran into trouble — putting multiple men on base — in three of the five innings he appeared in, and if it not for Clay Holmes’ stellar work in relief, he probably would have been charged with more than the one run in 4.2 innings.
Monty put the first two batters on in the second, allowing consecutive singles before working out of trouble. In the fourth, a single and double put two men in scoring position before the one-time Yankee MVP turned on the club. Montgomery bounced a curveball for a wild pitch and Trey Mancini scampered home to make it 1-0, Orioles.
Mancini came up again with two men on in the fifth, getting walked to load the bases and ending Monty’s day with one out to go in the frame. Holmes was tasked with keeping the deficit at one, and wasted no time getting Ramón Urias looking to end the threat:
One earned run in 4.2 IP equates to a sub-2.00 ERA, which is unquestionably a positive result, but Montgomery labored for most of the game and really slowed his pace once runners reached base. Having asked the bullpen to cover five innings last night, the Yankees probably wanted more length out of Monty today, but that really doesn’t matter when he allowed one run against a bad team and — surprise, surprise — received zero runs of support against that same bad team.
Holmes was outstanding in taking the ball from Montgomery, facing four batters and striking out every single one of them. Yes, it is only the O’s, but Holmes is molding himself into a devastating high-leverage weapon if the Yankees deploy him correctly into September and October. Wandy Peralta was responsible for the next two runs, in a rare bad outing since returning from the COVID-IL in early August. Four hits against just one out recorded put the Yankees down 3-0. It could’ve been worse if Lucas Luetge didn’t pull a Holmes and help Peralta out of the jam.
At least the offense did finally come alive — although really, too little too late for this blogger. Anthony Rizzo reached on an error in the seventh, the first time it looked like things might turn around for the team. Three batters later, a playable infield single from the pinch-hitting Torres notched the Yankees’ first hit and first run. Progress!
Unfortunately, the progress could only go so far because a familiar 2021 bugaboo returned to bite the Yankees. Luke Voit pinch-hit for Tyler Wade and promptly bounced into the team’s 124th double play of the season to end the threat.
DJ LeMahieu kept the mild resurgence going in the next frame by leading off with a swinging bunt. It turned out to be the bloop to Gallo’s blast:
.@JoeyGallo24 ties things up! pic.twitter.com/irdUs2fzCY— MLB (@MLB) September 4, 2021
Sadly, momentum is only as good as your ninth-inning pitcher, and working his second day in a row, Chapman was not good. His fastball velocity was down more than a mile per hour, and he threw it over the heart of the zone as often as he did the edge:
The inning began with a wild pitch on a third strike, and Chapman followed by allowing an Austin Hays single to left and a walk to Mancini to load the bases. There was no margin for error, and even though he struck out Urias, Pedro Severino’s sacrifice fly made it 4-3, Baltimore. The Yankees then went down in order in the bottom of the ninth, securing yet another defeat at the hands of the O’s, who will be lucky if they avoid hitting the 100-loss threshold in the next two weeks.
I don’t want to talk about this game anymore. The Rays blew out the Twins to increase their AL East lead to 7.5 games, and Boston walked off Cleveland to creep just a half-game behind New York for the top Wild Card spot. The pressure’s on, and the Yankees will try to win the rubber match against Baltimore tomorrow with Corey Kluber on the mound. First pitch is at 1:05pm Eastern.